Joshua Kurlantzick, in "Can Public Diplomacy Counter Resource Nationalism?," paints a rather alarming geo-strategic picture for the United States. The recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization showcased the warming relations between oil-rich Iran and Russia with the budding super-consumer, China.
Earlier this year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in China -- and quickly made himself at home. The occasion was a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional group linking China, Russia, and Central Asia. During the summit, Ahmadinejad seemed to be everywhere. He posed, arms linked, with Russian and Chinese officials, who said nothing as he called for "impartial and independent experts" to investigate whether the Holocaust happened. He delivered a major address broadcast on Chinese state television.
The letter of President Ahmadinejad to President Bush, its wide range of topics on different context and in various dimensions, deserves detailed discussions by the people of knowledge and experience in the related fields. The purpose of this writing however, is not to analyze and judge the content of the letter, rather it's a small contribution to ring the bell that the noopolitik is already on its dawn, at the doorstep of the new century, and people of creeds and values should not miss the opportunity.
Too bad for President George W. Bush that political public opinion surveys are not conducted at U.S. football games.
Editor's Note: Research Associate Reza Aslan, a scholar of religions and the author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam (Random House), recently published in paperback, submits this examination of a public diplomacy challenge for the United States and its image in Iran and surrounding Muslim countries. Aslan offers that current U.S. policy considerations may provide an untenable challenge for public diplomacy practitioners.